Ingolfur Bluhdorn’s ideas about the politics of unsustainability seem to paint an accurate picture of the state of mind of the developed world. We recognise the need for change but absolutely refuse to change. An ecological doublethink pervades our politics.
In attempting to make sense of the current condition of the world “in the areas of ecological politics, green politics, political economy, and social change,” it seems to me that challenging the ecological doublethink is what well sharp has been all about for these past two years.
COP15 in Copenhagen has made a “modest start” to dealing with climate change – according to participants such as UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and NZ climate change ambassador Adrian Macey.
Oh, the irony of such half-hearted spin … COP1 took place in Berlin in 1995. Now, fifteen conferences later we’ve finally got around to making a start.
In fact, of course, Copenhagen has simply been a failure followed by much dissembling. Action has been deferred yet again by the politicians and their sheepish accomplices who have found it too hard to be decisive. They have chosen to leave “making a start” to someone else at some point in the future.
When, as everyone knows, it will all be far too late.
This is – let’s be honest – dangerously self-destructive behaviour: a recognition of the need for change hand in hand with an absolute refusal to change. It is the politics of unsustainability in the most disastrous form imaginable.
This is the era of ‘post-ecologism.’ On the one hand, we have:
“a general acceptance that the achievement of sustainability requires radical change in the most basic principles of late-modern societies.”
And yet, on the other hand, there is
“a general consensus about the non-negotiability of democratic consumer capitalism – irrespective of mounting evidence of its unsustainability” .
This crazy paradox is, undoubtedly, an accurate summation of the societal self-deception we live with: “a realm where the management of the inability and unwillingness to become sustainable has taken centre ground.” And so the disturbingly ambiguous politics of unsustainability holds sway .
Well over a year ago now, Barry wrote about how irony is the only sane response to a world of paradox and ambiguity. But it is a response that is easier to manage at a personal level than at the level of organised politics. So how are green parties coping with this situation?